Piccuta Law Group Attorney, Charles Piccuta, Authors Winning California Court of Appeals Brief
On July 7th, 2014, the California Court of Appeals for the Sixth District issued its decision in the matter of Frederico Chavez, Et Al. v. Meneshke Law Firm, Et Al. (case H038557). The Appeals Court held that the trial court properly denied Defendants anti-SLAPP motions and that Plaintiffs had demonstrated a probability of prevailing on their malicious prosecution claim. Piccuta Law Group attorney, Charles Piccuta, drafted the winning appellate brief for Plaintiffs.
The underlying action arose from an injury that occurred on the premises of a commercial property in Watsonville, California. Chavez leased an office from a party named Solinas. A stairway on the property was not to code and, as a result, a relative of Chavez was seriously injured when she fell down the stairway. The injury case was eventually tried to a jury and a judgment was obtained for $800,000.00. However, just prior to the jury trial, Solinas filed a lawsuit against Chavez for indemnity claiming that Chavez was liable for any injury his relative suffered based upon a contractual lease provision.
After the injury case was resolved, the suit filed by Solinas against Chavez for indemnity was dismissed. Chavez then sued Solinas for malicious prosecution. Solinas filed an anti-SLAPP motion, or special motion to strike, claiming that Chavez could not provide probable clause, a necessary element of malicious prosecution, because the lease itself provided probable cause. The Court of Appeals held that Chavez could show the he had a probability of prevailing on his malicious prosecution claim and upheld the lower court’s decision holding the same.
Malicious prosecution is a legal term for a claim that someone has if they are wrongfully sued. Malicious prosecution claims protect the rights of defendants to be free from frivolous lawsuits brought by malicious parties in bad faith. Under California law, to prevail on a malicious prosecution claim, a party must show they prevailed in a lawsuit against the other side and that the lawsuit that they won was filed without probable cause and initiated with an evil motive.
If you were wrongfully sued by someone and prevailed, you may have a claim for malicious prosecution. The attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group, LLP handle malicious prosecution claims. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation and to discuss your case.